Sorghum intercropped with cowpeas. Photo courtesy.
Farmers who intercrop sorghum and legumes in a system such as sorghum-cowpea or sorghum-green gram can benefit up to 35-60 per cent as compared to those planting maize and bean.
According to a 2016 research program on Dryland Cereals in Makueni County by Eric Manyasa Scientist at ICRIASAT-Nairobi, there was 1.741 tonnes of cereal and 1.001 tonnes of legume yields per hectare in intercropping Seredo and Cowpea K80 crop varieties. This was higher as compared to 1.087 tonnes of cereal and 0.298 tonnes of legume yields per hectare in growing Maize KDV1 and Beans Katex56 varieties.
The gross value for Seredo and Cowpea K80 was Sh75,296 per hectares at farm gate prices and Sh94,272 per hectares at Wote Market while that for Maize KDV1 and Beans Katex56 was Sh48,404 per hectares at farm gate prices and Sh56,521 per hectares at Wote Market.
This represents 35.7 per cent high returns in selling Seredo and Cowpea K80 at farm gate prices than Maize KDV1 and Beans Katex56 and 40 per cent returns in selling the same produce at Wote Market than Maize KDV1 and Beans Katex56.
Maize intercropped with beans. Photo courtesy.
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Moreover Charles Wambua Mutisya, a farmer from Wote who grew sorghum, cowpea and green grams in the previous season is a happy farmer after harvesting about 15 bags of sorghum grain, three bags of cowpea, and a bag of green grams.
“If I had planted maize and beans on my two acres piece of plot, I would have harvested not more than 3 and 0.5 bags respectively,” said Wambua.
The 45 year old farmer and father of eight believes his harvest will feed his family until the next harvest and sell the surplus.
Sorghum intercropped with green grams. Photo courtesy.